I was an apprentice newspaper reporter when General Zia ul-Haq came to power in Pakistan in the military coup of 1977. That was more than twenty years ago; but there are scenes from his reign that I shall always remember. The general was keen on Islamic law and Islamic punishment, but, though stonin…
Top Reads 2021
‘It’s no good joining an existing cult, you have to start one yourself.’
A short story by Japanese author Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori, who also brought us Convenience Store Woman and Earthlings.
Have You Met Husband?
‘The oysters were her idea, a way of catching me off guard. I accidentally said yes.’
A story by Amy Silverberg.
‘I often had head lice as a child.’
Memoir by A.K. Blakemore, author of The Manningtree Witches.
A Bleed of Blue
‘I was trying simultaneously to numb the grief I felt and to burrow into that grief, so I could stand in it.’
On love, its absence and Joni Mitchell’s Blue album.
‘I want the poem to destroy time. / What are the ceremonies of forgetting?’
Nick Laird’s elegy for his father, Alastair Laird, who died of Covid-19.